Archive for July 30, 2012

Occupy Chic-fil-A

Posted: July 30, 2012 in TownHall.com

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy


The current hate campaign being waged by homosexual activists against fast food chain Chick-fil-A, because of the firm’s Christian values, may well turn out to be a bridge too far.  The effort may prove to be a setback for homosexual activism.

The vile attacks on the firm and its owners, the Cathy family, should make clear, finally, that the “gay rights” movement is not about refining and advancing American freedom, but about rewriting American values and advancing, not freedom, but the homosexual political agenda.

Recently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at a flag raising ceremony in Alexandria, Egypt, noting the re-opening of the American consulate there.  Given the current political climate in Egypt, the Secretary of State felt behooved in her remarks to highlight principles of freedom as understood by Americans.

“….to us, real democracy means that every citizen has the right to live, work, and worship as they choose, whether they are man or woman, Muslim or Christian, or from any other background.”

Perhaps Secretary Clinton should be lecturing Americans instead of Egyptians.

Can it really be that in America today a businessman can be labeled a bigot, boycotted, and cut off by suppliers because of the crime of being a Christian?

When Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made his now famous incendiary admission that “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit,” he was not pontificating. He was responding to a question in an interview done in a paper I expect not read by many homosexuals – the Baptist Press.

Never mind.  It was sufficient provocation that Cathy publicly admitted that the Bible defines his understanding of marriage – the unique bond of man and woman – which also happens to be the standard definition in dictionaries on the shelves of every American home and library.

“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values,” said Chicago Mayor, and former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, Rahm Emmanuel.  Emmanuel defended Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno’s threat to deny Chick-fil-A permitting in Chicago because its owner supports traditional marriage and family.

But UCLA law professor and constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh points out in his blog that “denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation.”

The Constitution?  The First Amendment?  Religious liberty?  Do these apply to Christians?

Volokh goes on to point out that a permit might be denied, “…if Chick-fil-A actually discriminated in their serving or hiring decisions in Chicago in a way forbidden by Chicago or Illinois law….But the stories give no evidence of such actions…”

The fact that there is no evidence that Chick-fil-A discriminates in its business practices did not deter Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank from writing that Dan Cathy’s support of traditional marriage “…implied that gay people (not to mention divorced people) had no business eating at Chick-fil-A.”

One court decision after another over the last fifty years has, step by step, purged any hint of religion and traditional values from our schools and public spaces.

Has it made this a fairer, better, freer nation?  If you think breakdown of family, forty percent out-of-wedlock births, a million abortions a year, $16 trillion in national debt, and government dependence is better and freer, yes.

Of course society must embrace civility, respect and tolerance.  But this doesn’t mean that the sexual proclivities of some should provide license to rewrite our language and the traditions that define our faith and virtue.

Hopefully many will respond to Mike Huckabee’s appeal to patronize Chick-fil-A on  August 1 as a display of support for traditional Christian values and as a reminder that our Constitution protects religious freedom.

Have we really gotten to the point where being a Christian is considered un-American?

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can do About It.

http://townhall.com/columnists/starparker/2012/07/30/can_it_be_unamerican_to_be_a_christian/page/full/


The founder and CEO of Amazon.com has pledged a $2.5 million  donation toward a campaign that seeks to uphold Washington state‘s same-sex  marriage law, after he was inspired to do so by a former employee.

The large contribution by Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, is expected to  provide a significant boost to the Washington United for Marriage coalition,  which seeks to make sure marriage continues to include gay and lesbian  couples.

“It’s a game changer for us,” said the organization’s campaign manager Zach  Silk. “It puts us in unique position to win.”

The battle over the definition of manage in the state has intensified.  Although gay couples received the right to marry earlier this year, a referendum  in June gathered close to 250,000 signatures, which means that the  state will once again vote on the issue in November.

According to a story published by The New York Times, an email from a lesbian employee might  have inspired Bezos and his wife to make such a large contribution.

The email was sent on Sunday by Jennifer Cast, identified as one of Amazon’s  earliest employees and a lesbian mother of four children who is raising funds to  battle the Washington referendum.

“I want to have the right to marry the love of my life and to let my children  and grandchildren know their family is honored like a ‘real’ family,'” the  50-year-old mother reportedly wrote. “We need help from straight people. To be  very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who  want to help us win.”

Cast revealed that she had left the company in 2001 and never really talked  to Bezos about such issues, so she could not be certain how or if her former  employer would respond.

“Jeff, I suspect you support marriage equality,” she said at the end her  email, hoping that he would donate between $100,000 and $200,000. “I beg you not  to sit on the sidelines and hope the vote goes our way. Help us make it so.”

She received a reply back on Tuesday, according to the Times, which read:  “This is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff &  MacKenzie.”

However, Silk is now feeling confident that such a large donation will  attract more public donations and help with outreach efforts for the  campaign.

“They understand what’s at stake for Washington families and what’s at stake  for the country,” he added. “We’re at a tipping point, and they really  understand this is an historic moment, and they want to be on the right side of  history and want to make history.”

The Bezos’ donation comes only a month after Microsoft founder Bill Gates,  along with current CEO Stebe Ballmar each made $100,000 donations toward  supporting the same law in Washington.

Despite the high-profile support of big-name company executives, people  seeking to reinstate the traditional definition of marriage in Washington are  hoping to raise enough public support for their cause.

“We had more than 1,500 churches and more than 5,000 individuals involved in  the signature collection effort,” said Joseph Backholm, chairman of Preserve  Marriage Washington.

“We know those trying to redefine marriage are highly motivated, well  organized, and well-funded. We expect to have to work very hard and will need  the involvement of every common sense conservative in Washington State.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/amazon-ceo-donates-2-5m-for-same-sex-marriage-after-gay-employees-email-78998/#s3iXqey753Jerxu5.99

We Can Do This

Posted: July 30, 2012 in Max Lucado

We Can Do This.


“Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” John 15:4

I’ll never forget the time I bought a new stereo system. I brought the boxes home and carefully unwrapped each piece of equipment. I spread everything out on the floor. There it was—wires and all. But halfway into the assembling project I realized I needed some serious help. Believe me, I am a technological idiot; when it comes to connecting in digital world, I’m in serious trouble!

Most of us are a lot like that spiritually. We have all the equipment we need to connect to an intimate and fulfilling relationship with the only One who is tailor-made to make great music out of our lives. But most of us never quite seem to get it figured out. So here are some pointers.

The intimacy with God we were built to enjoy begins by realizing that our relationship with Jesus is the key to getting connected. As He said in John 14:6, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” And then in John 15:1-27 he paints a profound picture of what that looks like (I find pictures are really helpful in set-up manuals), by telling us that we are like branches and that He is the vine. All the resources we need to prosper and bear fruit come from entwining our entire being—mind, will, intellect, emotions, and attitudes—into Jesus. And then He concludes the connection instructions by telling us that the key to letting the music flow is our unflinching obedience to Him in every aspect of our lives.

Jesus says, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10). The payoff of finally getting connected is that we will experience the deep-down joy that only He can give as a reward for obediently staying wired to Him. He assures us, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

Perhaps you can imagine the joy I felt when a friend came over to get me out of my digital mess. And the music was spectacular!

When you think of your spiritual journey, I wonder if you feel frustrated and wound up in wires that go nowhere, leaving you disappointed and doubting if your Christianity will ever work? Check in with the “intimacy expert.” Jesus welcomes you to listen to His advice for your life and then to hook up by obeying all of His directives. Directives about how to deal with your enemies, your family, your finances, your weird boss, and anything or anybody else that crosses your path. As it is with digital equipment, there are no alternatives. If the wires aren’t plugged into the right place, it just won’t work.

And, one other thought: When I can’t get something to work I always know that it’s not the manufacturer’s fault. They knew just how to make the equipment. So if God seems far away and there is little or no music in your heart, it’s not God’s fault. We were pre-wired to fellowship with Him in harmonious obedience!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Read John 15:1-27. In what ways do you see yourself in the picture of the vine and branches?
  • Are you connectedly challenged? On a scale of 1 to 10, how connected are you to God right now?
  • Pray for insight in locating the wires that are disconnected through disobedience. Once you have located them, plan now to reconnect and obey regardless of the difficulty or the consequences.
  • Can you envision the music in your life if you were to start plugging in through obedience?

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/connectedly-challenged/


Jesus did not commit Himself to them . . . , for He knew what was in man —John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions. However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.

Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord is so obviously uncompromising with regard to every human relationship because He knows that every relationship that is not based on faithfulness to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God, and in what God’s grace could do for anyone, was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person. If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone.

http://utmost.org/the-teaching-of-disillusionment/


The hearts of the people    cry out to the LORD. You walls of Daughter Zion,    let your tears flow like a river    day and night; give yourself no relief,    your eyes no rest.”—Lamentations 2:18

This week, Jews worldwide will observe the darkest, most sorrowful day of the calendar. It was on this day, the ninth day of AvTisha b’ Av in Hebrew — that the First Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C.E. and the Jewish people exiled to Babylon. Ironically, coincidentally, or providentially — however you choose to view it — the Second Temple was destroyed on this same day by the Romans in 70 AD.

Throughout the course of Jewish history, the day has been marked by other tragedies — the final revolt against the Romans was crushed in 135 C.E.; the expulsion of the Jews from Spain was decreed in 1492; and in 1942, on this day, the Nazis began deporting Jews from Poland’s Warsaw Ghetto to the death camps.

Tisha b’Av has come to embody all the experiences of suffering that the Jewish people have endured over the centuries.

During the three weeks leading up to Tisha b’Av, Jews refrain from eating meat, drinking wine, or wearing new clothes. No celebrations, such as weddings, are allowed during this time. And on the day itself, which begins with a fast, we spend sitting on stools, or the floor, in the synagogue reading from the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah’s heart-wrenching lament after the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.

The various customs and laws surrounding this observance are designed to create within us the same kind of solemn mood experienced by someone mourning the death of a close family member. We are to vicariously feel the depth of grief and sadness that has marked this day throughout history.

In Jerusalem, thousands go to the Western Wall to pray and read Lamentations. My wife and I will join hundreds others in a place overlooking the Western Wall and the Old City, and we’ll pray and read together. There is a real sense of community, of shared history in being together on that day.

And I believe we gain strength in our own faith and are encouraged to look toward the future with hope by being in community. We remember the words of Jeremiah, also found in Lamentations that speak to a brighter future because of these comforting words:  “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21–23).

We, as a people, are reminded once again on Tisha b’Av, that although our beloved Israel remains under the constant threat of war and destruction, we should not despair. God has delivered His people in the past, and He will do so again, I believe, with the help and support of our Christian friends.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/the-darkest-hour